Structure

An interesting conversation with my friend Amy recently made me realize that there seem to be two types of people in this world: Those who thrive on structure and those who chafe when forced to be structured. I fall firmly in the former camp. I like planning things. I flourish with boundaries. If I don’t know what to expect it makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Want to go and do something with me? Give me a couple days’ notice so I can get used to the idea. I’m not a spur of the moment type of person. And for the love of all things holy, do not show up at my door unannounced. Not if you want me to be genuinely happy to see you.

I like having a steady job with a steady paycheck and benefits. I admire anyone who can make a living as an entrepreneur or a freelancer, but it would give me ulcers. Never knowing how much money was coming in from one week to the next would freak me out.

Most of the people I knew in Florida were structured types, too. After decades of that, it sort of became my default expectation. But now I’m in Seattle, which seems to be a more freewheeling, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of place. I’m making more and more friends who are free spirits, and it’s been absolutely delightful and inspiring. It’s also been a learning experience.

I struggle to remember that my way isn’t the only way. These are just two different angles by which to approach the world. Naturally, I have a comfort zone, but this does not mean that it’s the “right” zone. It’s just my zone.

I’m loving the enthusiasm of the folks in the other camp. But I’m not wild about the lack of follow through. I love how they feed my creative side, and they also teach me not to take myself so freakin’ seriously. But it would be nice if they could show up on time. They bring me joy. They also frustrate the hell out of me.

When I collaborate with non-structured individuals, I have to learn to be more flexible, and that is growth for me. I’m discovering that there’s more than one way to reach a goal. My well-worn path isn’t the only one. In fact, the view might just be spectacular if I took another route every now and then.

And when I see my friends trying to adapt to my need for structure by giving me time frames and being open to my planning, for example, it means a great deal to me. True friends accommodate each other, and by doing so, everyone grows. So a HUGE hug to all my twisty-bendy friends out there! Thanks for bearing with me, too. It goes both ways.

Agility

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8 thoughts on “Structure

  1. I fall somewhere in between. I like structure, but only when I seek it out—I hate having it imposed upon me. I like flexibility, but I also like to show up early. I think that’s why I’m drawn to copy editing and graphic design; both involve imposing order and structure on something, but there is room for creativity within that structure.

  2. I could NEVER work for myself, I love the steady paycheck.

    other than that, I hate structure. I would never plan a vacation, I just go. Luckily, my wife makes sure we get planned and taken care of. I drive her nuts sometimes as well. Great post

    1. This recent trip to Oregon was the first time I didn’t plan everything in minute detail. It was an interesting experience. I think I could only do it, though, because I knew it wasn’t that far away, and if I missed something amazing, I could always go back.

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